What Does That Mean?
We understand that navigating through
the amazing alphabet soup of acronyms, abbreviations and just plain unfamiliar-sounding
words can be a challenge. So
the following is a glossary of web, Internet and general technology terms that
you might come across.
Acrobat Reader: A stand-alone program or web browser
plug-in from Adobe that lets users view a PDF file in its original format and
Address, e-mail: The specific location of
an electronic mailbox on the Internet.
Address, web page: The specific location
of a single web page on the Internet.
Address, web site: The specific location
of a web site on the Internet.
ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line): An ADSL
circuit connects two specific locations (similar to a leased line) but at much
greater speed than a regular phone connection. Theoretically, ADSL should allow
download speeds of up to 9 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 640 Kbps.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute): The American
body responsible for setting telecommunications standards in the U.S.
Application Service Provider (ASP): Application Service
Providers in essence rent access to the latest and most popular software programs
over the Internet.
ARPANet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network):
This precursor to the Internet was created in the late '60s and early '70s by
the U.S. Defense Department as an experiment in wide-area networking that would
survive a nuclear war.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange):
The world-wide standard for code numbers used by computers to represent all upper
and lowercase Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, etc. There are 128 standard
ASCII codes, each of which can be represented by a seven-digit binary number
ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode): A common Internet
protocol for transferring data across the Internet.
Auto Responder: Automatically sends a text
file reply when an e-mail is received.
Backbone: A high-speed line or series of connections
forming a major pathway within a network, which carries data gathered from smaller
connections that interconnect with it.
Bandwidth: Measures the amount of information
that can be transmitted over a network, normally measured in megabytes (MB) or
gigabytes (GB). Simple HTML web pages do not require a large amount of bandwidth,
but full-motion video does.
Baud: The baud rate of a modem measures how many bits
it can send or receive per second. Technically, baud is the number of times per
second the carrier signal shifts value.
BBS (Bulletin Board System): A computerized meeting
and announcement system that allows people to carry on discussions, upload and
download files, and make announcements.
Binhex (BINary HEXadecimal): A method for converting
non-text files (non-ASCII) into ASCII.
Bit (Binary DigIT): The smallest unit of computerized
BITNET (Because It's Time NETwork or Because It's There
NETwork): A network of educational sites separate from the Internet.
Bps (Bits-Per-Second): A measurement of how fast data
is moved from one place to another.
Browser, web: A computer program that opens
and displays web pages. Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Netscape
are common web browsers.
Byte: A set of bits that represent a single character.
Usually there are eight bits in a byte, sometimes more, depending on how the
measurement is made.
CGI (Common Gateway Interface): The method of passing
data back and forth between the web server and the application program is called
the common gateway interface (CGI). CGI "scripts" are used for tasks such as
submitting forms to a web server.
Client: A software program used to contact and obtain
data from a server software program on another computer. Each client program
is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server programs, and each
server requires a specific kind of client. A web browser is a specific kind of
Co-location: A basic service offered by web
hosts for customers who own their own web servers. Co-location includes the rental
of space in the data centre as well as the connection of the web server to the
Conferencing: A group-wide online communication
process, conducted either via the Internet or an organizational intranet. Conference
participants can view online presentations, communicate with each other via chat
software or interact one-on-one with audio software and microphones.
Cookie: Refers to a piece of information sent by
a web server to a web browser that the browser software saves and sends back
to the server. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration
information, online "shopping cart" information, user preferences, etc. Cookies
can not read hard drives but can gather information about a user's on-line habits.
CyberCash™: A commercial provider of digital cash
services that allows users to securely process credit card transactions 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. CyberCash works with all popular browsers, as well
as the majority of Internet hardware, software, servers, communication protocols
and web store applications.
Cyberpunk: Originally a subgenre of science fiction
taking place in a dystopian society, the term grew out of the work of William
Gibson and Bruce Sterling and is now a cultural label.
Cyberspace: This term, originated by author William
Gibson in his novel Neuromancer, is now used to describe the wide range of information
resources available through computer networks.
Digital cash: A system of purchasing cash credits
in relatively small amounts, storing the credits in your computer, and then spending
them when making electronic purchases over the Internet.
Disk space: A measure of hard drive storage,
normally measured in megabytes (MB).
Domain name: An individual's or company's unique
address (www.netnation.com) on the Internet. A domain name is made up of an identifying
name followed by a period and a multiple-letter extension such as .com, .org,
.net, .edu or a country code such as .ca or .uk
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): A method of moving data
over regular phone lines. A DSL circuit is much faster than a regular phone connection
but the wires coming into the subscriber's premises are the same as those used
for regular phone service. A DSL circuit must be configured to connect two specific
locations, similar to a leased line.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange): Also referred to
as electronic commerce or e-commerce.
E-commerce (Electronic Commerce): The transacting
of business electronically via the Internet.
E-mail (Electronic Mail): Messages, usually text,
sent from one person to another via the Internet.
E-mail Aliasing: Allows users to have multiple
addresses for one POP mailbox.
Ethernet: A common method of networking computers
in a LAN (Local Area Network). An Ethernet can handle about 10,000,000 bits-per-second
and can be used with almost any kind of computer.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): FAQs are web site
documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject.
FDDI (Fibre Distributed Data Interface): A standard
for transmitting data on optical fibre cables at a rate of around 100,000,000
bits-per-second (10 times as fast as an Ethernet, about twice as fast as T-3).
Fire wall: A combination of hardware and software
located at the gateway server of a network that protects information contained
within the network from users outside the network (on the Internet).
Flash (Macromedia): A standard for interactive vector
graphics and animation for the web. web designers use Flash to create beautiful,
resizable and compact navigation interfaces, technical illustrations, long-form
animations and other effects. Graphics and animation will anti-alias and scale
based on the viewer's screen size, providing high-quality viewing.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A common method of moving
files between two Internet sites for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending
Gateway: A hardware or software set-up that translates
between two dissimilar protocols.
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format): A common format for
image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same
Gigabyte: 1,000 or 1,024 megabytes, depending on
the method of measurement used.
Gopher: A widely successful method of making menus
of material available over the Internet.
Graphical Usage Statistics: Creates
graphs that depict the amount of traffic to a given site, what documents are
being accessed, and who is accessing them.
Hit: When used in reference to the World Wide web, "hit"
means a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server.
For a web browser to display a page that contains three graphics, four "hits"
would occur at the server-one for the HTML page and one for each of the three
Host, web: A company that hosts web sites.
Hosting, dedicated: A web server that
is dedicated to hosting the web sites of a single customer.
Hosting, shared: A web server that hosts
web sites for multiple customers.
Hosting, web: The storage of a web site and
delivery of that web site to the Internet.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): The coding language
used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide web. HTML looks
a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where blocks of text are surrounded
with codes that indicate how it should appear. Information is encased in special
markers (called tags) that tell the WWW applications how the text is to be interpreted.
HTML is a universal language that allows computers with different operating systems
to understand one another.
HTML+: This proposed new standard is a superset of
HTML, designed to extend the capabilities of the language and incorporate better
support for multimedia objects in documents.
Http (HyperText Transfer Protocol): The protocol for
moving hypertext files across the Internet. Requires an http client program on
one end and an http server program on the other. Http is the most important protocol
used on the World Wide web.
Http Streaming: An alternative approach to
serving Real Audio files on the web. Although this technique is not well-suited
for high-volume sites serving numerous simultaneous streams, many smaller web
sites can benefit from this simple, inexpensive approach. Relies on http used
by all web servers to store and transmit ordinary text and graphics files on
Hypertext: Text that contains links to other documents.
Words or phrases in the document can be chosen by a reader, which cause another
document to be retrieved and displayed.
internet (lower case i): Any time two or more networks
are connected together, you have an internet.
Internet (upper case I): The vast collection of
interconnected networks that all use the TCP/IP protocols and that grew out of
the U.S. Defense Department's ARPANet of the late '60s and early '70s.
Internet Service Provider: A single computer network,
connected to the Internet, that provides access for individual computers to the
Intranet: A network of linked computers maintained
by a company or other organization. Employees can access information specific
to their company via the intranet.
IP (Internet Protocol): The protocol that allows computers
and networks on the Internet to communicate with one another.
IP Number (Internet Protocol Number): Sometimes
called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of four parts separated by dots.
Every machine on the Internet has an IP number.
ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): A way to
move more data over existing regular phone lines and can provide speeds of roughly
128,000 bits-per-second over regular phone lines.
ISVs: Independent Software Vendors.
Java: A network-oriented programming language invented
by Sun Microsystems specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely
downloaded to computers through the Internet. Using small Java programs (called
"applets"), web pages can include functions such as animations, calculators,
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A format for
transmitting photographic image files.
Keyword: Words and phrases used by search engines
to categorize web site content.
Kilobyte: A thousand bytes or, more accurately, 1,024
LAN (Local Area Network): A computer network limited
to the immediate area, usually the same building or floor of a building.
Leased line: Refers to a phone line that is
rented for exclusive, 24-hour, 7-days-a-week use from one location to another.
Highest speed data connections require a leased line.
MAN: Metropolitan Area Network.
Megabyte: A million bytes or, more accurately, 1024 kilobytes.
Merchant banks: Companies that establish
bank accounts enabling other companies to accept credit card payments.
Microsoft NT: A popular operating system for
higher-end computers called workstations as well as web servers and other types
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions): The standard
for attaching non-text files to standard Internet mail messages. Non-text files
include graphics, spreadsheets, formatted word-processor documents, sound files,
etc. Something is considered MIME compliant if it can both send and receive files
using the MIME standard.
Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator): A device that connects
a computer to a phone line, and allows the computer to talk to other computers
through the phone system.
NAP (Network Access Point): One of several major Internet
interconnection points in the United States that tie all Internet access providers
together. NAPs were created and supported by the National Science Foundation
as part of the transition from the original U.S. government-financed Internet
to a commercially operated Internet.
Netiquette: The etiquette on the Internet.
Netizen: Refers to a citizen of the Internet, someone
who uses networked resources. The term suggests participation and civic responsibility.
Newsgroup: The name for discussion groups on USENET.
Node: Any single computer connected to a network.
NT, Microsoft: A computer operating system
by Microsoft Corporation.
Packet Switching: The method used to move
data around on the Internet. In packet switching, all data from a machine is
broken into packets; each packet has the address of where it came from and where
it is going. This enables data from many different sources to co-mingle on the
same lines and be sorted and directed to different routes by special machines
along the way.
Personal CGI directory: A feature
that allows users to run any CGI script from a directory located inside their
home directory, provided the script conforms to the terms and conditions of usage
Plug-in: A (usually small) piece of software that
adds features to a larger piece of software.
POP (Point of Presence, also Post Office Protocol):
A Point of Presence usually means a city or location where a network can be connected
to, often with dial-up phone lines. A second meaning, Post Office Protocol, refers
to the way e-mail software such as Eudora gets mail from a mail server. A POP
account means the same as an e-mail account.
Port: That part of a web server that handles requests
for particular services (FTP, TELNET, WWW). Each of those has its own port number,
where it "listens" for requests.
Portal: Used to described a web site that is or is
intended to be the first place people see when using the web. Typically a "portal
site" has a catalogue of web sites, a search engine, or both. A portal site may
also offer e-mail and other service to entice people to use that site as their
main point of entry to the web.
Posting: A single message entered into a network
PPP (Point to Point Protocol): A protocol that allows
a computer to use a regular telephone line and a modem to make TCP/IP connections
and be on the Internet.
PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): The old-fashioned
Push media: This new method of collecting information
on the Internet allows users to subscribe to a push agency that delivers all
the information one might need on a specific subject.
Real Audio and Real Video: Real
Networks' RealAudio and RealVideo system is a client-server-based streaming media
delivery system for the Internet. Providers of news, entertainment, sports and
business content can create and deliver audio-based streaming multimedia content
through the Internet to audiences worldwide.
Redundancy: Refers to protection against system
failures. In data centres, for instance, to ensure servers always have power
supply, two power supplies are used so that one takes over if the other one fails
Router: A special-purpose computer (or software package)
that handles the connection between two or more networks. Routers look at the
destination addresses of the packets of information passing through them and
deciding which route to send them to.
Search Engine: A computer program that searches
the web to find web pages on a given subject. Some well-known search engines
are Alta Vista, Excite, HotBot, Lycos, Infoseek, web Crawler and Yahoo!.
Secure transactions: In e-commerce transactions,
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology provides for site authentication
and peer-to-peer secure communication. This allows for the safe transmittal and
receiving of sensitive information such as credit card numbers or passwords.
Server: A computer, or a software package, that provides
a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The
term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to
the machine on which the software is running,
Shopping cart: Software that allows customers
on an e-commerce web site to select items they wish to purchase and store them
in their virtual shopping cart. Customers can view, add or delete items in their
shopping cart before making their electronic purchase.
Shell account: An account that gives access
to a UNIX-based host computer. The user can enter UNIX commands to operate this
Sig or signature file: A small ASCII text file automatically
attached to the end of an e-mail message that includes additional information
about the sender.
SMDS (Switched Multimegabit Data Service): A new standard
for very high-speed data transfer.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): The main protocol
used to send electronic mail on the Internet. SMTP consists of a set of rules
for how a program sending mail and a program receiving mail should interact.
Spam (or Spamming): An inappropriate attempt to use
a mailing list, USENET or other networked communications facility as if it was
a broadcast medium (which it is not) by sending the same message to a large number
of people who didn't request it.
Sysop (System Operator): Anyone responsible for the
physical operations of a computer system or network resource. A system administrator
decides how often backups and maintenance should be performed and the system
operator carries out those tasks.
T-1: A leased-line connection capable of carrying data
at 1,544,000 bits-per-second.
T-3: A leased-line connection capable of carrying data
at 44,736,000 bits-per-second.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol):
The suite of protocols that defines the Internet. Originally designed for the
UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is now available for every major kind
of computer operating system.
Telnet: The command and program used to login from
one Internet site to another. The telnet command/program gets you to the login:
prompt of another host.
Terabyte: 1,000 gigabytes.
Traffic: The amount of data transferred from one
computer to another computer per unit of time. Normally measured in megabytes
(MB). For billing purposes, traffic is normally quotes in MB per month. Traffic
is one of the variables by which most web hosting companies charge their customers.
Truespeech: A high-quality speech compression
software that compresses speech down to as much as 1/40th its original size.
Since regular speech files are normally large, compression using TrueSpeech enables
them to be transferred faster and more easily.
UNIX: Developed at Bell Labs in 1969 as an interactive
time-sharing system, UNIX has evolved into a type of freeware. Various versions
of UNIX are available from a number of companies.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The standard address
of any resource on the Internet that is part of the World Wide web (WWW). One
uses a URL by entering it into a WWW browser program.
USENET: A world-wide system of discussion groups
operating among hundreds of thousands of machines. Only about half of USENET
machines are on the Internet. USENET is decentralized and supports thousands
of discussion areas called newsgroups.
UUENCODE (Unix to Unix Encoding): A method for
converting files from Binary to ASCII (text) so that they can be sent across
the Internet via e-mail.
WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers): A commercial
software package that allows the indexing of huge quantities of information,
and then makes them searchable across networks such as the Internet.
WAN (Wide Area Network): Any internet or network that
covers an area larger than a single building or campus.
web Developer: An individual or company that
specializes in the development of web sites. web developers handle all the programming
aspects of creating a web site such as HTML programming, creating graphics, adding
pictures, creating links, etc.
web Publishing Software: Software
that allows a user to write HTML and create a web site without having HTML programming
Wizard: Interactive help screens that assist users
in installing new software or performing a complex operation such as publishing
a web page.
World Wide web: An Internet client-server
system to distribute information, based upon the Hypertext Transfer Protocol
(HTTP). Also known as WWW, W3 or the web and not synonymous with the Internet.
Created at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1991 by Dr. Tim Berners-Lee.
WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get